Let’s make it easy for the grand jury. When you file a fraudulent expense claim, it is fraud. And when you receive compensation that you do not report on your taxes, it is tax fraud. Then when you file with your spouse, your spouse abets the fraud, Bob.
Governor McDonnell cannot credibly claim ignorance on the expense claims. He proudly advertises he is a veteran and his service continued until rather recently. Military personnel submit travel claims for reimbursement and during that drill, the definitions and implications of a fraudulent claim are clear to everyone. Then maybe the Feds should be investigating his military travel claims too. Maybe he “regularly” claimed an enema or whatever that bowel cleansing treatment was on those submissions. Regardless, he owes taxes on those false claims.
But that really is just minor compared to the potentially felonious fraud that the gift from Jonnie R. Williams represents. Sadly, Bob may have implicated his daughter Cailin too. You see, the presumption in the tax code is that any gift is taxable. There are reasonable exceptions that are outlined below the fold. This is all designed to prevent bribery and influence peddling from going unpunished.
There are really three circumstances affecting the status of the catering payment by Jonnie (I hope I can call you Jonnie):
- Jonnie paid a bill for Bob McDonnell covering catering for Cailin’s wedding in a quid pro quo arrangement that Bob must declare as income
- Jonnie paid a bill for Cailin nee McDonnell covering catering for Cailin’s wedding in a quid pro quo arrangement that Cailin must declare as income
- Jonnie filed a federal gift tax return declaring a gift to either Bob or Cailin; basically attesting that there is no quid pro quo arrangement
Show us those tax returns and the dates they were filed.
You see, if Jonnie timely filed the gift tax return, that event would have preceded the turmoil surrounding this “gift.” At least there would be documentation that the payment was designated as a gift. Remember, the rule is that any gift is taxable. There are reasonable exceptions:
Generally, the following gifts are not taxable:
- Gifts, excluding gifts of future interests, that are not more than the annual exclusion for the calendar year,
- Tuition or medical expenses paid directly to an educational or medical institution for someone else,
- Gifts to your spouse,
- Gifts to a political organization for its use, and
- Gifts to charities.
This makes the gifts to Attorney General and Republican Gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli more difficult to classify because they are coincidently less than the $13,000 threshold for the federal gift tax return requirement. However, there is nothing that prevents one from filing a gift tax return for any amount in order to distinguish between a quid pro quo payment (which includes bribes) and a gift.
Nevertheless, Cooch owes the people of the Commonwealth an investigation into whether Bob, Maureen, and/or Cailin filed fraudulent Virginia tax return(s). It is quite possible that Jonnie does not owe any explanation and these were de facto quid pro quo payments. Or, that he reconstructed history by filing the gift return(s) after the issue surfaced. That would be a federal case, and not of interest to the state.
However, with his involvement with Jonnie, maybe better to recuse himself and ask for a special prosecutor; one with some business and tax experience. Trust me, there is no doubt that fraud and influence peddling is lurking here. It is just how many of the three McDonnells are implicated.